SNARK WEEK: Why I Can’t Stand Geoffrey Rush & Gerard Depardieu


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It is a truth universally acknowledged that I can’t stand Geoffrey Rush or Gerard Depardieu. This can sometimes make historical costume movie watching difficult, as there seem to be years where no movie can be made without them. The problem is I Just Can’t Stand Them, so any of my reviews of anything that involves them usually just consists of me can’t-even-ing, which I realize isn’t very nuanced. So Trystan is making me write this post in an attempt to articulate why they annoy me, and which will probably annoy you, because really, I have no basis for disliking them other than a general “UGH” reaction.

This is literally my face as I try to write this post. I’m not kidding.

But in celebration of Man Ick Monday (our Snark Week variation on Man Candy Monday), and because Trystan is a big meanie and is making me, I shall attempt to explain why I can’t stand Geoffrey Rush and Gerard Depardieu. This post will probably suck, because it’s just a visceral reaction that is incredibly hard to explain, so bear with and move along if you just don’t get me.


The Scenery Chewing

Okay, so Depardieu has had his moments (mostly, Cyrano de Bergerac, 1990) where he has harnessed his skills for good and not evil. But most of the time, I feel like both Rush and Depardieu are just Overacting Up the Wazoo. Have either of them heard of the term “nuanced performance”? Because it seems like they missed that class at acting school and went straight to Make It Super Obvious So the Audience Doesn’t Miss It!!

Vatel (2000)

In Vatel (2000), Depardieu may not jazz-hand all over the place, but he’s so fucking serious about being a thespian. Every line of dialogue just feels so overly crafted that my ass puckered through the whole thing.

1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)

And then don’t get me started on his swashbuckling, randomly-French-accented, attempting-to-be-noble take on Christopher Columbus in 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992). It was an interesting movie, weird costumes nonetheless, but I just felt like he went in saying, “I’m Gerard Depardieu! I couldn’t possibly attempt an Italian or Spanish accent, mon dieu! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM??!!”

Pirates of the Caribbean

Alright, so the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is all about overacting — it’s supposed to be cartoony. And (at least in the first film), I loved Johnny Depp‘s over the top take on Jack Sparrow.

Pirates of the Caribbean

But Geoffrey Rush just chewed scenery like he’s chewing this apple, and it was as gross as this image is to watch.

Pirates of the Caribbean


Quills (2000)

And then fucking Quills (2000). We’ll get to the skeeze factor in a minute, but Rush’s imprisoned Marquis de Sade was all jazz hands, all the time. He’s immoral! He’s intelligent! He’s licentious! He’s the king of #nofucks! Yes yes we get it. CALM DOWN.



The Shlong-yness

Probably more Depardieu than Rush, but both of them just feel like the personification of an unattractive, probably short and strangely bumpy, shlong. We are generally pro-penis here at Frock Flicks, so I’m not talking about the actual item itself. It’s just, and I’m sorry if this wounds the worldview of any men reading this, but here’s the deal: there are guys who are penis-y, and not in a good way. Usually you work with them (because who would voluntarily spend any time with these fuckers). They’re the personification of white male privilege, in that they have no idea that their smug sense of self-satisfaction is actually totally misplaced and irritates the fuck out of everyone around them. The fact that you happened to be born with a penis does not make your every thought genius, nor does it make you smarter or more worthy of airtime than me. Sorry, tangent!

So, yeah. I feel Depardieu in particular has probably never examined his own sense of smug superiority in the random fact that he was born with a particular set of genitalia. (Note: I have no basis for this judgement. Maybe they’re both committed feminists who spend their time volunteering at women’s shelters.)

Camille Claudel (1988)

In Camille Claudel (1988), Depardieu plays August Rodin, happy to use and abuse the genius of Claudel and then throw her away when the shit gets real.


Again, 1492: Conquest of Paradise. Why show a real take on Columbus when you can play the noble, tragic, misunderstood, anachronistically sensitive explorer? Am I blaming the actor for the script/direction? Hell yes I am.

The King's Speech (2010)

In The King’s Speech (2010), Rush was well cast as the know-it-all speech therapist who whips King George VI into public-speaking shape, but that doesn’t mean I enjoyed watching him.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)

Rush actually was pretty good at Sir Francis Walsingham, spymaster to Elizabeth I, in Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)…

Elizabeth (1998)

…except that I irrationally blame him for the totally made-up scene where he goes to visit Marie of Guise in Scotland, seduces her (WITH WHAT??!!), and then KILLS HER (NEVER HAPPENED OMG WHAT THE FUCK).

Yeah, and that brings me to my other point here — FILMMAKERS, PLEASE STOP CASTING THESE TWO AS SEXUAL PEOPLE. I’m sorry, but I hate the fucking trope of “old ugly guy still manages to fascinate and intrigue young hot woman simply because he has a penis.” IT’S BEEN DONE, IT’S STUPID, AND I HATE IT WITH THE FIRE OF MANY SUNS.

2000 Vatel

In Vatel, Depardieu’s chef is older, uglier, and lower in status than Uma Thurman’s mistress-to-the-king.

Vatel (2000)

Yet somehow she’s still STRANGELY ATTRACTED to him. NOT BUYING IT.

But really, I may never recover from my one viewing of Quills. Kate Winslet, I thought! 18th century, I thought! Oh dear god. She’s the random employee at a late 18th-century prison (who apparently can’t afford an actual dress or jacket and is wandering around in her corset through the whole movie — the literal equivalent of you or I wandering around in our bra), he’s the Marquis de Sade. Who, yes, is supposed to be old and lascivious and slightly crazy. But christ on a crouton. Watching Rush go all madman-in-the-attic and, in particular, sleaze it up on poor Kate Winslet just gave me ALL the dry heaves.

Quills (2000)

Yes, the role calls for him to be old and gross but also brilliantly interesting.

Quills (2000)

But I still feel sexually harassed after watching him leer and grope poor Winslet.



Honestly, the Shnozzles

I can get very excited about a big, weird nose on a guy (see Adrien Brody: YES, PLEASE). But there’s something about the bulbousness of Rush and Depardieu’s noses, which always seem to be looming at the camera and therefore at me, that just give me all the heebie jeebies.

Shakespeare in Love (1998)

Rush actually was funny and well cast in Shakespeare in Love (1998), but THAT NOSE.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Oh yes, Pirates of the Caribbean. Let’s take a highly unattractive nose and pair it with gross makeup and a pubic-hair beard. THAT’LL HELP.

Cyrano de Bergerac (1990)

Depardieu’s prosthetic nose works in Cyrano de Bergerac (1990).

Camille Claudel (1988)

But the real deal, as seen in films like Camille Claudel, just gives me The Fear.



Alright, give me all the shit for irrationally disliking your two favorite actors EVAH. I welcome the shit-show that will be the comments section.



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64 Responses

  1. Alba

    First of all, thank god snark week is finally here!!! yay! Because this week is lined up as pretty shitty for me, so at least I’ll have my doses of snark around to make it better.

    Secondly, bravo!!! Though I personally love a lot of the movies you’ve mentioned, and don’t have a particular dislike for either Rush or Depardieu I really applaud your honesty. We all have those dislikes that are just so f***ing hard to explain and that everybody seems to give us hell for.

    So hooray for the visceral – UGH reactions!

      • Betrisher

        Oo! I was so pleased to read your essay on Depardieu and Rush! They both strike me in exactly the same way. One thing I will say in Depardieu’s favour is that he played Obelix in ‘The Adventures of Asterix and Obelix’ to a T. It’s the only role I actually like him in.

        Geoffery Rush doesn’t actually have a redeeming role in my eye. Add to that the fact that he seems to regard himself as the grand old man of Australian theatre (I’d never even heard of him until he did an execrable performance of the pianist, David Helfgott, in ‘Shine’). It also annoys me that somewhere along the way he managed to lose his Australian accent and opt, instead, for some kind of hybrid Windsor-Castle-meets-Opera-House patois that doesn’t place him anywhere on the globe. As you say, he overacts the underpants out of every part and is generally a vast annoyance.

  2. Susan Snare

    “I’m sorry, but I hate the fucking trope of “old ugly guy still manages to fascinate and intrigue young hot woman simply because he has a penis.” IT’S BEEN DONE, IT’S STUPID, AND I HATE IT WITH THE FIRE OF MANY SUNS.”

    THIS. OH, THIS. It made the sun peek through a shitty curtain of puke-colored clouds. AND it’s wearing a top hat.

    • janette

      I think it is a little bit of wishful thinking on the part of the male writer/director/producer and yes it is utterly, totally objectionable and even more so now.. when there are world leaders who believe it is ok for sleazy old dudes to grope young women simply “cause” they feel like it. No guys, learn this, sleazy is not attractive. .

      • Lucinda Carnegie

        Yes. I mean like Yes I totally agree with you, not yes that’s an acceptable way for a man to act.

  3. amyaosterholm

    With you all the way on Depardieu, he seems like a schlong IRL as well. Yuk.

    I can see what you’re saying about Rush and his acting, and Quills: BARF. I always felt he had a bit more of a sense of humor about himself than GD. But now even that idea is tainted, so yeah – I guess I’m in on him too!

  4. Trystan L. Bass

    I thought you might have enjoyed that Depardieu kills himself at the end of Vatel tho?

    And I love Rush in Shakespeare in Love, or at least, I love his lines as the theater manager, those are my go-tos when running any kind of event :)

    Still, I had a DVD of Quills that sat unopened for 3 years till I finally ditched it. Conceptually, I was really interested in the topic/story, but something just creeped me out about actually watching it. Then I heard your review & knew I made the right choice.

    • Lady Hermina De Pagan

      Damned you Kendra!!! Your Blog post about the shit show that is Quills went up AFTER I watched this horror show of a movie. Between the creepy old Rush, the I’m poor/dirty/walking about in my underwear costuming, and ploddingly slow plot I wanted the 45 minutes I spent trying to watch this crap back. I think I got as far as the romance of the blade scene and I was done. I didn’t care how much I paid to rent it, that crap was going back.

      • themodernmantuamaker

        Oh gawd, definitely the brain bleach! Although……..the ending of the movie could qualify for that scatological thread I just read through in your “Behind the Scenes” post………*shudder*

    • Kairi

      I did the same thing! Totally excited…period piece…Kate… never watched it.

  5. Danielle Fredrickson

    No, I get it. Both just kind of gross. I’m a lot younger than you ladies, so my first introduction to Rush was in Pirates of the Caribbean, where I couldn’t stand his character.
    But what really bugged me was the fact that he had apparently never bathed??? Why was he so dirty? Does being undead and cursed mean you can’t wash your face? Or shave? Or wash your hair????

  6. Susan Pola Staples

    FInally, someone has the courage to be honest about why they dislike these actors.I completely agree with you on Rush, and if ever we meet at a con or an event, I’ll buy you a drink. The only role I liked him in was Shakespeare in Love and King’s Speech. The others gave me the Willie’s. Pirates I felt sorry for the monkey. He was clean.

    Depardieu reminds me of the worst type of Frenchman. Adore us we’re men & French. No subtlety in his acting. If Rodin, the creator of the Burghers of Calais, was anything like Depardieu’s portrayal, Camille Claudel should have destroyed his studio.
    Thank you.

  7. Maria

    I could not agree more about Gerard Depardieu – I just don’t get the appeal and never have though I did at least tolerate his performances in The Man in the Iron Mask.

    I’m a little half and half on Geoffrey Rush – there are some performances of his that I have really enjoyed such as Elizabeth, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and The King’s Speech, which are among my favorite historical movies. I haven’t watched Shakespeare in Love yet – don’t shoot me but for some reason I just haven’t ever felt the urge to watch it. I did enjoy his performance in Munich (early 70’s so that counts as historical doesn’t it?) and his ridiculously over the top villain in Mystery Men (not a historical film but still campy fun).

  8. Susan Pola Staples

    Shakespeare in Love is well worth it for Dame Judi alone and the line ‘I don’t know, Will. Tis a puzzlement.’

  9. Amanda

    Didn’t Depardieu give an interview where he said he said he raped girls when he was younger?

  10. Kelly

    Rush as Barbossa is perfect and honestly an underappreciated part of what maybe the good parts of PotC good. I mean, he was acting opposite Depp’s Sparrow, he had to chew the scenery, otherwise he would have been overshadowed and couldn’t have been a good villain (all the other ghost ship captains in the series don’t measure up). His interactions with Elizabeth in the trilogy as showed the growth of the two characters.

    And his “I feel… cold.” Poor guy just wanted to eat his apple.

    Not a huge fan of him having a peg leg in Stranger Tides, but I just pretend that movie doesn’t exist.

    • Sara L.

      Yes, I love Rush in the Pirates movies, he is pretty much my favorite part of every scene. He just really relishes every line, like he’s savoring a good meal, which is I guess why they call it “chewing the scenery”. I dunno, it just works for me.

      • Jem

        He’s honestly one of the best actors in the world n most definitely potc. I LOVE every scene he’s in . just brings life to it

  11. Susan Pola Staples

    Depardieu, if he did rape underage girls, is not only a criminal, but a paedophile.

  12. Susan Pola Staples

    Let the Russians have this horrible excuse for a person. But at any age, that and the peeing in public are crimes. I won’t even mention that he sorta reminds me of an ex-reality show host now living in D.C. *shudder*

  13. phlegmfatale

    What about Jean de Florette? I adore that film and its followup Manon de la Source. Derpydieu seemed like a nice fellow in that one.

    Taste is a,quirky thing, and you like what you like. :)

  14. Holly C

    I first saw Rush in Shine and I found him absolutely adorable in that (he was just so sweet). I think Shakespeare in Love was the second thing I saw him in and so i can forgive him just about anything – except Quills, that was plain awful and we pretend it doesn’t actually exist. Depardieu I used to find amusing, and then I grew up.

  15. Alisa

    Those two, I’m fine with. It’s Brad Pitt who gives me the irrational ick. And that guy who plays Rumplestiltskin in Once Upon a Time. I can’t even watch anything he’s in. *shudder* His face gives me the tarantula heebie jeebies.

  16. Esclarmonde Monteil

    Ok I agree on about Depardieu on the movies you mentionned BUT you may try some of the ones he made when he was young. For the historical costumes “Le retour de Martin Guerre” 1982, for something typically french 70s “Les Valseuses” ….

  17. thedementedfairy

    Hilarious, more irrationality please!
    I used to like Depardieu [as actor, not human being] because of the wonder of ‘Jean de Florette’ and ‘Manon des Sources’. Amused by him in various swashbuckling roles, including ‘Cyrano’. He is a big fat drunk though. [Ugly is not necessarily a turn off for me, I’m weird].
    I rather like Rush, but not fanciable in the slightest. And UTTERLY vile in Quills. Ew, narsty film.

  18. Paula

    Hahahha, I kinda love Geoffrey Rush :D and like a lot Depardieu’s acting
    Mattter of taste girls ;)

  19. themodernmantuamaker

    I’m actually not overly familiar with GD’s work. I admit I don’t watch a lot of foreign films because even when it’s something new to me I can’t just sit still and watch I have to be working on something (sewing, knitting, embroidery, etc) so it makes keeping up with subtitles tricky. I know there must be SO MUCH good stuff I miss because of it….but that’s what I have you ladies for! Lol

    Anyway, so I don’t have much of an opinion on GD. But I have seen quite a lot of GR and I have weird feelings about him. I like him in a lot of his roles but find him pretty physically repulsive. So I kind of simultaneously get enjoyment and creeped out by him, and “creeped out” feelings are not a draw for me. I dunno. I totally get something being visceral and hard to explain!

    I also want to give ALL the high fives and yeses to your calling out gross old men being able to seduce hot young women! Ick. Ick ick ick ick ick….ick. It absolutely has to be the playing out of a male fantasy. And perhaps the men who keep writing and producing this gross trope hope that if they put enough of it out there it will fool actual women into falling for it. Blech.

  20. ladylavinia1932

    I’m not that familiar with Gerard Depardieu. And to be honest, I couldn’t care about him one way or the other.

    As for Geoffrey Rush . . . big fan. Big , , , fan. Especially in the “PIRATES” movies, “THE KING’S SPEECH”, “SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE” and the two “ELIZABETH” movies.

  21. Bea

    OMGYES. This explains my visceral aversion to David Tennant.
    “They’re the personification of white male privilege, in that they have no idea that their smug sense of self-satisfaction is actually totally misplaced and irritates the fuck out of everyone around them.”
    smug. he’s like the footie player who’s been having girls swoon over him so long he’s just expecting it. “I’m an arsehole–but I’m so adorable, I get away with being such a shit.”

  22. Melponeme_k

    Awww, I like Rush and his overacting. I can just tell that he takes nothing seriously.

    Depardieu on the other hand I tolerate. He always has this impatient look on this face that says the film cast, crew and audience are just burdens on his time. As if he knew he could be doing better things like macrame or something.

  23. Mina

    Oh dear I laughed so hard at “The Shnozzles”!!! XD XD XD And I back every sentence – they just aren’t my cup of tea! (Them and Tom Cruise – uargh)

  24. andrebd

    This is my favourite week, I can’t stop laughing. OMGS
    Sometimes I think it’s a blessing to not know shit about proper period clothing so I can focus on how pretty everything looks.
    But I’m learning loads with you guys! <3
    I share the jeebies for Depardieu, and, though he has an interesting face to draw, I fucking hate the choice of him as the sexy Don Juan.
    I'd add Malkovich to the list, I do love him as an actor, but when they use him as the womaniser I'm like

  25. Kairi

    My irrational loathe is Vince Vaughn. Dunno why, I just always want to punch him in the face.

  26. Belladonna

    I wonder if people’s opinion of Rush has to do with when/if they’ve seen Quills. I’d always enjoyed Rush as an actor. So when Quills came out I steered clear of it specifically because I could tell it would be a shitshow that would forever ruin my opinion of him. ;)

  27. Nina Prentiss

    I wonder if it’s possible to guess your opinion of an actor based solely on his nose.
    Prominent, but sculpted Adrien Brody = nice
    Squashy, bulbous balloon Depardieu = ick
    Pock-marked ball sack Rush = nasty
    Are there others? I would play this game!

    • Broughps

      Then I would have to ask the opinions on Richard Armitage – prominent but sculpted and Alexander Skarsgård – slightly bulbous. Let the games begin.

  28. Susan Pola

    What about Rufus’ nose? Perfection. Face Perfection….*sigh, drool*???????

  29. Vaum Ma

    This was hilarious and though I have no particular feelings towards either of these actors, I totally get it.

    Just one thing, though?

    The fact that you happened to be born with a penis does not make your every thought genius, nor does it make you smarter or more worthy of airtime than me. ”

    “So, yeah. I feel Depardieu in particular has probably never examined his own sense of smug superiority in the random fact that he was born with a particular set of genitalia.”

    I totally get what you’re saying about him, but in the interest of intersectionality and inclusiveness, you can be born with a penis and not be a man. Your genitals and your gender (and your potential accompanying set of privilege) are two different things.
    Not trying to be nitpicky, just trying to keep things feminist-friendly for trans women, too.

      • Vaum Ma

        Thank you for thanking! I love this site, its writers, and I love that it’s feminist. <3

  30. Alyxx Iannetta

    I swear I am going to pluck my own eyes out if I have to see Depardieu shirtless again. Please! Stop having that man do sex scenes!
    One of my favorite books of all time is the Count of Monte Cristo, which they have tried a few times to make into movies and failed (though I have a guilty-pleasure love for the Richard Chamberlin version). The best attempt so far is a multi part version BUT they cast Depardieu! NOOOOOO!!! It’s really beautiful otherwise, but he just doesn’t work in the role. AND the fucked up the ending for no reason. But I still watch it because it’s the closest version so far.
    But still, Deapardieu, romancing the ladies… ugh.

  31. lixy

    OMG, and you didn’t even mention the egregiously written Tous Les Matins du Monde, with Depardieux père AND fils (fils being far, far cuter than père, and now tragically dead to boot, but still, no excuse for actual ridiculous lines about ‘my hot penis’ something or other which had us tittering in the august surroundings of art house Lincoln center cinema…I hate to make you watch it, but would adore your snarky take on that period film!

  32. dangerouswaters

    I wholly agree on Dépardieu – can’t stand his face.

    I do like Rush, however – he was the only saving grace of that otherwise godawful 1998 Les Mis movie, and he had to work against terrible, OOC writing. Because apparently filmmakers don’t know the difference between “villain” and “lawful neutral”.

  33. Erin

    YAAAAAAAAS! Oh my Lord, everything you said. You are right in EVERYTHING. Everything! Hide me from their noses and their smugness; I can’t stand either of them either!

  34. Justme

    Gerard Depardieu is human garbage. No amount of acting talent (which he doesn’t have) could ever make up for that. Geoffrey Rush is a scenery-chewer, but works out okay as a character actor in a lot of films. I almost feel sorry for him having to share this article with GD.

  35. Damnitz

    Yes! Depardieu dominated historical films too much. I always hoped, reading that he was in the cast, that he got a small role. Problem is that he started in roles as a sexy, cool gangster, who was the serious part along with Pierre Richard in his successfull comedies. Depardieu maybe was good in “Danton” because Danton is known for his exalted character and speech, but for many quiet roles he is just too much and as Fouché he was just a disaster. Has anybody noticed the real Fouché? Was he a fat Frenchman? As supporting actor like in “Le hussard sur le toit” he was OK and I was happy that he had no more importance for the film.
    “Vatel” is such a strange film. Great story (the historical one – not on screen) – but Depardieu in his typical role dominating the whole thing.

  36. Barbara Stolarski

    I actually have always thought Depardieu as being rather hot. He has rather gone to seed now but when he was thinner and younger ….yum. He is not handsome but is what people call “charismatic” and is completely unable to be anything else. He is not short but tall and as a French speaker myself I get his sexiness. Loved him in Jean de Florette. Have you seen him in the Count of Monte Cristo? I think it was a TV series (in French) that came out quite a while ago. He wore a leather highwayman’s coat for many of the scenes in which he was 100% HOT!